Friday, April 21, 2006

Better Late Than Never

Sen. Frist hasn't been doing so hot in the Presidential straw polls lately, mainly because of his failures to support what the GOP base has demanded him. But perhaps he has realized his error and is now trying to make a play for the base in hopes of improving his presidential chances:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Majority Leader Bill Frist intends to seek Senate passage of immigration legislation by Memorial Day, hoping to revive a bill that tightens border security and gives millions of illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship, Republican leadership aides said Friday.

In a gesture to conservative critics of the measure, Frist and other Republicans also intend to seek roughly $2 billion in immediate additional spending for border protection.

The aides said the money would allow for training of Border Patrol agents, construction of detention facilities for immigrants caught entering the country illegally, the purchase of helicopters and surveillance aircraft and construction of a fence in high-traffic areas.

Immigration is the right place to start, but Sen. Frist will have to make strides for confirming the judges, maintaining the Patriot Act, and balancing the budget --especially in regards to Pork spending-- before he puts himself back in legitimate contention for the presidency in 2008.

CIA Officer Fired For Leaking

FOX News reports:

WASHINGTON — A CIA officer has been relieved of his duty after being caught leaking classified information to the media.

CIA officials will not reveal the officer's name, assignment, or the information that was leaked. The firing is a highly unusual move, although there has been an ongoing investigation into leaks in the CIA.

One official called this a "damaging leak" that deals with operational information and said the fired officer "knowingly and willfully" leaked the information to the media and "was caught."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: prosecute the leakers. There should be criminal charges against especially the CIA leaker but also against any reporter who is willing to compromise our national security to bolster publicity and further his career.

When will the issue of leaking sensitive classified information to the press be recognized for the serious offense that it is?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The 9th Circuit Gets It Wrong

So much for the First Amendment's guarantees about freedom of speech. Apparently minority viewpoints are no longer protected as legitimate forms of free speech. Eugene Volokh has the details.

(HT: Instapundit)

The Counterfeit Columnist

Patterico exposes Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik, who has apparently been posting comments on his blog and others under false pseudonyms. This act of purposely misleading readers is one of the most reprehensible things a journalist can do, and one of the fastest ways he can destroy his credibility. LAObserved explains:

I wonder if we'll hear from any Times editors about whether they condone a staff columnist padding the "pro" comments on a Times blog by switching between identities. Isn't that something like a Times reporter penning a fictitious letter to the editor praising his own story? It certainly misled the readers of Hiltzik's blog.

This is a very serious matter that threatens the ethical standards of the Los Angeles Times. Perhaps that's why they have suspended Hiltzik's blogging rights:
The Times has suspended Michael Hiltzik’s Golden State blog on Hiltzik admitted Thursday that he posted items on the paper’s website, and on other websites, under names other than his own. That is a violation of The Times ethics policy, which requires editors and reporters to identify themselves when dealing with the public. The policy applies to both the print and online editions of the newspaper. The Times is investigating the postings.

Uh oh. I guess this kind of move makes sense when a newspaper discovers a journalist in direct violation of its ethics guidelines. Hugh Hewitt has the details on that --just scroll down to the update section of this post.

But the real question remains: what will the MSM do about this story? Actually cover it? Hard to imagine they would go after one of their own. And what will the times do about it? Apologize to its readers? Suspending Hiltzik's blog is a start, but will the Time's really step up to the plate?

Only time will tell. Until then, things do not look good for Mr. Hiltzik.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

News Roundup

I've been swamped with school work this week, hence the lack of posting. But here's a few stories to get you caught up:

More changes in the administration, as Scott McClellan resigns from the White House Press Office. More details here. And the word on the street is that Tony Snow is the frontrunner for becoming the new press secretary.

New developments in the Duke lacrosse players case. Their defense team is claiming that pictures from the party will exonerate the players. MKH has a time-stamped breakdown of the pictures as well as a look at the different theories about the pictures' implications for the case.

Harry Reid is stepping all over himself, again. It's one of those scenarios where he manages a complete turn around from prior statements. This time he's claiming the President isn't doing enough about Iran, as opposed to back when Iraq was a simliar situation and Reid was calling the president a war-monger who didn't care about international opinion. More here.

Some very interesting observations about the retired generals vs. Rumsfeld situation from John Hinderaker. The generals may not like the Defense Secretary's decisions, but it turns out that "Rumsfeld has institutionalized a system of consultation with his generals that is probably unprecedented in American history." Give it a read.

Cindy Sheehan has done a fine job of unraveling her credibility over the past year. Now she's created an elaborate fabrication of how the big bad government disgraced the body of her son Casey when it came back from Iraq. She's sticking to her story, but it clearly isn't true.

Finally, more surprising information is revealed by the translation of yet another document from Saddam's regime. Apparently a memo stated goals for improving IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in 2000. Ed Morrissey has the translated memo as well as some background and commentary.

That should do for now, I'll be back to regular posting as my work load allows.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The New Axis of Terror

Guess who makes an appearance:

Israel said Monday that a new "axis of terror" -- Iran, Syria and the Hamas-run Palestinian government -- is sowing the seeds of the first world war of the 21st century. The Palestinians accused Israel of an escalating and indiscriminate military campaign that targets civilians and entrenches its occupation.

The Israeli and Palestinian envoys traded charges at an open Security Council meeting held in response to the recent upsurge in Israeli attacks in Gaza. It took place on a day that a Palestinian suicide bomber struck a packed fast-food restaurant in Tel Aviv, killing nine people in the deadliest bombing in more than a year.

Recent statements by the Palestinian government, Iran and Syria, including one by Hamas on Monday defending the suicide bombing, "are clear declarations of war, and I urge each and every one of you to listen carefully and take them at face value," said Israel's U.N. Ambassador Dan Gillerman.

"A dark cloud is looming above our region, and it is metastasizing as a result of the statements and actions by leaders of Iran, Syria, and the newly elected government of the Palestinian Authority," Gillerman warned.

Israel knows the stakes, does the United States?

Monday, April 17, 2006

More On The Iraqi Documents

There's big news surfacing after the translation of more of the documents from Saddam's regime. The implication seems to be that just prior to the U.S. invasion, Saddam's government was attempting to move large amounts of chemical weapons.

In-depth details and commentary about the document here.

This is potentially a very big story, any way you dice it. If anything, it has the potential of reopening the WMD debate and swinging it back in favor of the President. This would be quite an important move, as it would kill the lefty argument that our intelligence failure on Iraq's WMDs implies that our intelligence about Iran can't be trusted.

Stopping this argument gets us one step closer to pursuing action against Iran, which appears more and more everyday to be the necessary action for stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

But for now, go get updated on the Docs.

Rumsfeld Remains Calm

The Secretary of Defense isn't losing sleep over the small group of retired generals who came forward against his Iraq policy:

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed calls for his resignation by a group of retired generals, telling conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh that "this too will pass."

Rumsfeld made no direct reference during the live interview with Limbaugh to the six retired generals who called for his resignation, but he suggested that his defense has only begun.

"You know, this, too, will pass," he said when Limbaugh asked him how it felt to go from sex symbol to having "practically the entire media jump on the case of these six generals demanding your ouster?"

"I think about it, and I must say, there's always two sides to these things, and the sharper the criticism comes, sometimes the sharper the defense comes from people who don't agree with the critics," Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld said he was pleased to see other retired generals step up to defend him.

They included retired general Richard Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; retired general Tommy Franks, the commander of the 2003 invasion of Iraq; retired lieutenant general Michael DeLong, Franks's former deputy at the US Central Command; and retired admiral Vernon Clark, the former chief of naval operations.

Here's the offering from the WSJ:

Since our nation's founding, the principle of civilian control over the military has been a centerpiece of our system of government. Under our constitutional system, it places elected and appointed government leaders in charge. American soldiers are bound by this tradition to subordinate themselves to civilian authority. We give advice but it is ultimately up to civilian leaders to make key strategic and policy decisions. Unlike many other democracies, this is one important reason why we have never been ruled by the military, and have been the most successful country the world has ever seen.

Some critics suggest that the calls by the six retired generals signify widespread discontent in the military with Secretary Rumsfeld's leadership. It is preposterous for them to suggest that this small group represents the views of the 1.4 million men and women serving on active duty or the 7,000 retired generals and flag officers who respect, understand and appreciate the established American tradition of the military being subordinate to civilian control and direction....

Despite criticisms, Mr. Rumsfeld is arguably one of the most effective secretaries of defense our nation has ever had. Under his watch, the U.S. military has been transforming; it brilliantly deposed Mullah Omar's barbaric Taliban regime (Osama bin Laden's sanctuary) and Saddam Hussein's ruthless Baathist regime, freeing 50 million people from oppression and placing the countries on democratic paths. With these actions, terrorists have been denied secure home bases. These are a few key factors why terrorists have been unable to attack the American homeland again. The policy and forward strategy implemented by Secretary Rumsfeld has taken the fight to the enemy as did the nation in World War II and the Cold War.

Some, like Generals Zinni, Newbold, Eaton, Batiste, Swannack, Riggs and others, may not like Secretary Rumsfeld's leadership style. They certainly have the right as private citizens now to speak their minds. Some may feel that he's been unfair, arrogant and autocratic to some senior officers. But those sentiments and feelings are irrelevant. In the end he's the man in charge and the buck stops with him. As long as he retains the confidence of the commander in chief he will make the important calls at the top of the department of defense. That's the way America works. So let's all breathe into a bag and get on with winning the global war against radical Islam. In time the electorate, and history, will grade their decisions.

Seems to me that with this kind of defense, and the support of the president, it makes sense why the Defense Secretary isn't too worried.